Ambition to put Hampshire broadband in 'premier league'
Thursday, 18 July 2013
The Leader of Hampshire County Council has declared his ambition for Hampshire to be in England's 'premier league' for Broadband access.
Cllr Roy Perry pledged his commitment for Hampshire to go beyond the Government's new target of 24 Mbps for 95 per cent of premises by 2017.
He described the multi-million pound investment as one of the "most significant the County Council would make in its lifetime" and a "lasting but one-off investment that would benefit all residents".
At the meeting of the Full Council in Winchester this morning (18 July) Cllr Perry announced that he had asked the Chief Executive to begin preparations to further extend the proposed coverage and to identify how the County Council could increase the speed and function of the original proposals to be funded by the County Council.
Hampshire County Council, together with district and borough partners, has already invested £5 million in the project and was awarded the same figure from Broadband Delivery UK. BT is contributing an additional £3.8 million towards the cost of installing the new fibre infrastructure bringing the total investment in the project to just over £13.8 million. The money will stimulate investment and finance the shortfall, to cover the costs of the upgrade to the network infrastructure.
The County Council is shortly to sign off the detailed implementation plans for those early phases of work under its contractual arrangements with the BT Group who will extend superfast broadband to 90 per cent of premises in Hampshire by rolling out a high speed infrastructure network that is capable of delivering speeds over 24mbps in line with the national framework, agreed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Under those plans, all other premises, the final 10 per cent, will be able to access Broadband at speeds of at least 2mbps.
Cllr Perry said: "My Cabinet colleagues and I feel we need to do more. I want to put Hampshire at the highest end of coverage and performance of any county in England. This will be one of the most significant investments we will make in economic terms in the life of the county for the benefit of young and old, families, rural, urban, business and learning."
Arrangements will be made for the Council's capital programme to be adjusted for this new investment. The proposals will be further developed and brought forward later this year alongside detailed technical work.
The first premises in Hampshire to benefit from the existing Hampshire Broadband Programme are due to go live in January 2014 with engineers commencing work to enhance the network in the next few months.
For more information about the Hampshire Broadband Programme, please register to be kept in touch as more information becomes available. The Council wants as many people as possible to continue to sign up to the campaign to demonstrate there are plenty of potential customers who want to make sure of this service.